RANDOLPH, NJ- With an experienced and talented roster in 2015, the Randolph boys’ soccer team landed themselves in both the County finals and State Sectional finals, to cap off a very successful season.
In 2016, many of those experienced leaders who sparked the squad to that 16-5-1 campaign have graduated and moved on, leaving some big holes in the roster. The Rams will need to replace their top two goal scorers in Matteo Panizza and Rodrigo Avilla, their top defender in Captain Drew Linz, and a host of other solid supporting cast members.
Head coach George Mousis knows he will need all hands on deck this year, commenting, “To replace the lost offense from Rodrigo and Matteo, we will need a total team effort, with everyone playing hard and enjoying our soccer.”
Waiting in line however, are some of the new seniors who also were key components to last years’ success, such as captain Michael Galipo.
When asked who will provide the offensive punch up front, Galipo stated, “With the Loss of some key players who helped us score last season, this year we are looking to Tana Gawe, Michael Lauria, and myself to provide the scoring up top.”
On the back end of the field, the team will once again rely heavily on their anchor in goalkeeper Evan Miele. Fortunately, Miele is confident he has a capable group in front of him to help keep shots away from his net.
“They key defensive players this year will be Cameron Rauchberg, Danny Moserowitz, Kyle Maietta, and Justin Linz, who all are excellent defenders,” said Miele. “I expect the defense to be solid and aggressive, and to communicate to the midfielders to keep our team connected. I have complete faith in their abilities.”
With over a dozen players having graduated, the abundance of experience and leadership that last years’ team enjoyed is not available this season. But coach Mousis’s captains are taking advantage of the opportunity to fill that role in 2016 by helping their younger teammates acclimate to the varsity game.
“I want to provide the team with someone that they know can always keep the game under control and always works hard no matter what,” said Galipo. “Also, I plan to be someone they ( the younger players ) look to as a role model and a strong player.”
While Galipo will be setting an example by leading his troops in the charge forward, Miele will lead his group in protecting the house.
“My role is to use the past two years of varsity experience I have to organize the back line to defend all possible situations, and to guide the team through times of high pressure,” said Miele. “As a captain, I feel it's my responsibility to encourage the team as a whole and to keep us motivated and positive both on and off the field.”
Coach Mousis feels confident in his leaders for this coming season. “Two outstanding young men,” said Mousis. “As for Evan our Goalkeeper, we are looking for him to lead from the back and inspire the team to play hard and smart. Mike is a player that leads by example and epitomizes hard work and dedication.”
Both captains have heeded Mousis’s message, and know that working closely as a group is their best chance for success.
“The team must work together this year and like Coach always says, we are a family,” said Galipo. “We don't leave anyone behind and everyone works hard.”
“Coming into this season, there is a very strong bond between all of us,” added Miele. “I feel that it's going to help us accomplish our goals of a state and county title. Coach has been preaching teamwork and work ethic. If our work ethic is top notch, other teams will have to work really hard to break us down.”
When asked what his main message to his team has been during training camp, Mousis said simply, “All-In.”
The boys open their season Friday Sept. 9 at 4 p.m. away at Pope John